How has the incorporation of technology affected students, staff, and community members?
The best people to communicate how these initiatives have affected them are the people themselves. In this application’s letters of support, staff and families share the impact that these efforts have had on them.
With Connected Futures, the District took a dramatic step in reducing the digital divide that presented challenges for vulnerable families in Detroit. More than 44,000 students have access to online learning platforms and free LTE internet access now. This has allowed the District to respond flexibly to changing health conditions. Because they had devices and had been building student skills on their devices, when face-to-face instruction was suspended again in November 2020, those students and teachers were prepared to transition without major disruption.
Students who received the devices show greater engagement with learning platforms and are also attending a greater proportion of their classes. Families are also able to connect to essential opportunities like United Way 311 and Detroit at Work. At the hubs, families can connect with trusted professionals and allies to help build their technical skills and confidence with digital resources and tools.
This points to perhaps the most important impact of Connected Futures and the Technology and Family Resource Hubs. Providing each student with a device is about more than giving them access to online learning during the pandemic. These devices and hubs ignite interest and give them access to technical skills and online resources that will live far beyond their immediate needs – a strong foundation for future innovation from DPSCD.